I don’t care for strangers, I like my friends but strangers are just passing me by on where ever I am on my way to go. It is a simplistic view of my world. I think one of the things I don’t like with living in the city is that there are so much white noise that everyone that is living in it shuts down, it is a defense mechanism to not over load your mind.
This other day I was at Starbucks, one of the things I do like with living in the city, my phone was dead and they were all out of NY times. I was stuck just sitting in a corner with nothing to occupy my mind with but observing people, the people I see every morning but never really see.
There is this older Italian man that walks around the place, talking to all woman, showing them stories from today’s newspaper, “Wow have you seen this” I think he is an idiot.
In the corner there is a young couple holding hands across the table, he is your typical young guy, all full of himself and she have grand plans for their future together, I am not sure he share her dreams.
It is a Starbucks that is visited by a lot of Police officers. This morning there is only one at the table, He reminds me of Belker in Hill street blues. He wears a blue wool cap and is short and stocky. Many people knows him by name, it appears he knows everyone, even if he is short and gruff in conversation he is warm and friendly, asks everyone that talks to him about something. “Is your mom out of the hospital yet?” He is street smart and calm, well liked. 10 minutes later his polar opposite walks in, parked his patrol car right outside the door, not in the back like everyone else. He is tall and handsome with a classic jaw line, and he is a jerk. Never make room for anyone else as he walks into the place, don’t say thank you when he gets his coffee. He checks the woman out in that creepy way. He sits with a straight back and knees apart, he is full of himself.
At the table next to the officers there is an old couple, I don’t think much of them at first but over hearing them talk it is clear that he have the early stages of Alzheimer’s, he is anxious, whenever he talks his arm is shaking. The woman is sharp as a tack, steering the conversation gently to things that makes him comfortable. She must know what is coming but she still smiles at him with love. Life is sometimes cruel in slow-motion, she is so brave and I admire her.
A man in a wheel chair is parked in the middle of the floor, not sure what he is suffering from but it affects his whole body, he got lots of friends at his table but he doesn’t speak much. He leaves at the same time the short officer does.
Officer – John, hope you haven’t been in any trouble lately, don’t speed with that wheel chair, we would have to come get you.
John – You would never be able to catch me unless I run out of battery.
They both laugh and the officer holds Johns shoulder, not the way an officer would, more like a brother.
The Barista that I hate talking to early in the morning, the one that always talk too much, the one that I only grunt to and never look in the eyes talk to another Barista. She finally got the judge to approve the restraining order, she is not sure it will be enough but it is all she can do.
Strangers, they are all around me, everyone’s life is briefly passing me by as I sit in the corner. Restraining orders, love, abortions, a new job. Happiness and unspeakable despair, everyone is fighting their own battles, having hardships on their own. But I have to look to see it, have to care to notice, observing, nor sure I want to do it again.